Tips for Making Your Food Grade 55-Gallon Drum Last

plastic storage blue barrels

Food grade 55-gallon drums are built for long-term storage, keeping water and other edible items safe and sound for months or years at a time. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle your drum storage equipment. After all, these can be costly pieces of equipment, so you should do everything you can to make them last. If you’re in the business of storing food and beverages, you can save money by properly caring for your gallon drum over the years. Learn more now about how you can make the most of your food grade drum storage solutions.

Cleaning Out the Drum After Every Use

When you’re storing food and other edible items in a 55-gallon drum, you need to make sure you’re properly cleaning it out after every use. Even if you’re just storing water in the barrels, cleaning them out keeps them sanitary and free of residue.

If you’re ready to use the barrel, you can clean it out by pouring in a chlorine solution. You can create your own by mixing one teaspoon calcium hypochlorite or one cup chlorine bleach to two gallons of water. You’ll want to make sure the solution touches every part of the interior. Seal the container and push the barrel around for anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to make sure it’s fully treated. When you’re finished, drain out the chlorine solution and rinse the interior of the barrel with some clean water.

You’re ready to reuse your 55-gallon drum now. Repeat this process every time you need to store another item in the barrel.

55 gallon oil drums stacked

Protecting Your Drum from Toxic Substances

If you plan on storing something inedible in your barrels such as oil, chemicals or some other potentially toxic substance, it’s a good idea to fill the barrel with a plastic coating before pouring in the new substance. This helps you protect the sides of the barrel from absorbing the chemicals in the new substance. When you remove the substance, you can easily dispose of the plastic coating without having permanently altered the drum. You can then treat the barrel and wash it out as previously discussed if you plan on reusing it.

Where to Store Your Drum

You’ll also need to think about storing your 55-gallon drum in a safe, dry location to make sure your storage materials can last the test of time. It’s best to place your drum out of direct sunlight and in the shade. Ideally, you’ll want to store your drum in a temperature-controlled room with no humidity or moisture.

Keeping your barrels in the sun all day can cause the plastic to melt or degrade in some cases. While many of these barrels are made with food grade UV-resistant plastic, the materials can deteriorate if they’re exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. Keeping your shipping barrels outside may not ruin your equipment, but if you have the space inside, you might as well use it for storage.

You’ll also want to keep your barrels away from concrete and chemicals that might change the chemical makeup of your barrels. If you’re using plastic drums, the material will be permeable, which means it might absorb some of the chemicals from whatever’s nearby, so make sure you’re keeping them in a location that’s free of potentially hazardous substances.

chemical plant plastic storage drums

Sealing It Tight

You’ll also want to make sure you’re sealing the barrel tight. This prevents dust, dirt and other hazardous particles and bacteria from getting inside the drum. The lid should always be properly sealed unless you’re adding or removing items from the storage container. The part of the drum that opens is called the bung. You’ll use a small tool to screw the bung into place. Make sure it’s as tight as can be and there is no liquid leaking out of the top.

As a durable storage solution, a 55-gallon drum is designed to last and withstand most storage environments. But with that in mind, it’s important to remember that your storage equipment will only last as long as your ability to properly care for it. The quality of your drum may start to diminish over the years if you leave it out in the sun, exposed to the elements or keep it near chemicals and other unclean surfaces. Ensure your 55-gallon drum can last for years to come by treating it the way it was meant to be treated.